Anti-viral drug remdesivir has little to no effect on Covid patients’ chances of survival, according to a study of more than 11,000 people in 30 countries sponsored by the World Health Organization.
The WHO trial evaluated four potential medications for Covid-19, including remdesivir and hydroxychloroquine.
Remdesivir was among the first to be used to treat coronavirus, and was recently given to US President Donald Trump when he was in hospital. It is the only antiviral drug authorized for treatment of the virus in the United States.
The data from the trial has not yet been peer-reviewed or published in a scientific journal.
The drug’s manufacturer Gilead rejected the findings of the trial.
In a statement, Gilead said the findings of the study were “inconsistent” with others, and that it was “concerned” that the results have yet to be reviewed.
“The emerging data appears inconsistent, with more robust evidence from multiple randomised, controlled studies published in peer-reviewed journals validating the clinical benefit of remdesivir,” the company said.
“We are concerned the data from this open-label global trial has not undergone the rigorous review required to allow for constructive scientific discussion, particularly given the limitations of the trial design.”
The WHO’s results appear to contradict a previous study from earlier this month, conducted by Gilead, which concluded that treatment with remdesivir cut Covid recovery time by five days compared to patients given a placebo. About 1,000 patients took part in that trial.
Remdesivir has been touted as a potential therapy since the beginning of the pandemic and gained greater attention when it formed part of Donald Trump’s cocktail of treatments.